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Americas Newsroom

News/Business. Bill Hemmer, Martha MacCallum. News coverage and discussion. New.

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02:01:00

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Us 18, Cms 11, Florida 11, Rebecca 10, Martha 10, Sebelius 7, Kathleen Sebelius 7, America 7, Michigan 7, Marilyn Tavenner 6, Kevin Brady 5, Bob 3, Sandy 3, Ms. Tavenner 3, Jay Carney 3, Rick 3, Washington 3, Upton 3, Los Angeles 3, Obamacare 3,
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  FOX News    Americas Newsroom    News/Business. Bill Hemmer, Martha  
   MacCallum. News coverage and discussion. New.  

    October 29, 2013
    6:00 - 8:01am PDT  

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>> usa! is what i'll say. we'll talk after the game. >> allall right. log on for our after the show show. >> we'll see you back here tomorrow, same time, same channel. bill: we've got a hot morning here. good morning, everybody. fox news alert. did the white house knowingly mislead the american people? stunning new details showing that the administration knew as early as three years ago, that millions of americans would lose their health plans under obamacare this is unfolding by the hour. good morning, this is what we have this hour on "america's newsroom." martha: we have a lot. good morning, bill. good morning, everybody. i'm martha maccallum. these numbers are staggering. our own reporting shows that the white house knew 67% of the 14 million people who buy their own insurance can expect a cancellation letter in the mail. nbc news put that is number as high as 80%. that is more than 11 million
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people, folks, who already either lost their medical insurance or soon will. >> so if the president truly knew this would happen way back when, 2010, that means he continued to make the promises he knew he could not keep under this law, after signing the overall law in march of 2010. stephen hayes, senior writer "weekly standard," fox news contributor. parse this now, steve. your take? >> this is bigpretty big deal. this is confirmation of what many republicans were saying all along. the main promise of the white house's president obama's signature domestic policy that you could keep your plan if you like it but was not true but a deliberately. there is no real way to be polite about it. this was a lie. this was a lie from the beginning. these documents unearthed over last 24 hours make that abundantly clear. bill: are they parsing this language themselves? as you define the word is, is
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between the lines? >> they're in trouble. scrambling trying to come up with any way to explain this away when the plain language what the president said and what we've now seen makes it impossible to do so. valerie jarrett, top obama advisor sent out a tweet, saying in effect nothing in obamacare forces you off these plans. just these insurance companies that are doing this. bill: that seemed to be, a little bit of what we heard at briefing yesterday too. is that their defense now, push it off on the insurance companies? hey that language isn't in the law, talk to your insurance company. >> yeah, exactly. i think is going back to the white house playbook on everything. find a villain and blame everything on the villain. i think it is very hard sell. we've seen them try to blame this on republicans claiming sabotage. now you will suggest that the insurance companies are ones really at fault, actually what the insurance companies are doing is required by obamacare. bill: you have a quote from august of 2009. i've got 30 seconds. what was said then so revealing
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now? >> pretty striking. representative tom price, republican, who is a medical doctor in the house of representatives behave the weekly address, said on the stump the president regularly tells americans if you like your plan you can keep your plan. but if you read the bill, that just isn't so. for starters within five years every health care plan will have to meet a new federal definition for coverage, one that your current plan might not match even if you like it. this was predicted long ago by republicans and other critics. bill: more on this august of 2009 that was. stephen hayes calls this a hard sell. buckle up. leading our coverage there in washington. martha. martha: after years of the president vowing if you already had health insurance he assured everyone at home, did it all across the nation that you would be able to keep it. press secretary jay carney finally acknowledged yesterday that to some extent that promise is being broken. watch this. >> so it's true that there are existing health care plans on the individual market that doesn't meet those minimum
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standards and therefore do not qualify for the affordable care act. there are some can be grandfathered if people want to keep insurance that is substandard. martha: meanwhile republican senator ted cruz, raising concerns over people not only losing their current insurance, but losing their jobs over obamacare. watch this. >> one. real problems with obamacare is people all over the country are losing their health insurance because of obamacare. you've got millions of people who are losing their jobs, who are being forced into part-time work, who are seeing health insurance premiums skyrocket and whose insurance is being canceled right now because of obamacare. listen -- >> any other issue but you chose this one? >> it is number one job killer in the country. martha: now we're starting to see the actual effects of all of this in numbers with hundreds of thousands of people already losing their insurance coverage, bill? bill: we wanted to show viewers at home just what we're picking up so far. we went to a lot of different
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sources for this. the newspaper in lancaster, pa. newspaper in decatur, illinois. "palm beach post" down in florida. "washington examiner," cbs news. we'll continue colating information and putting it together. in new jersey, 800,000 insurance cancellations. remember the insurance companies have mandates to cover certain items in the insurance plan based on obamacare and law that was written and now these insurance plans can no longer do that. sohundred thousand in new jersey. 425,000 so far in the state of florida. that is a big number down in florida. california is at 279,000 based on what we can see thus far. that number could change. it could go higher. 140,000 in michigan. pa at 37,000. washington, d.c., maryland and virginia, right along, 76,000. we mentioned at top of our broadcast here. these numbers are changing by the hour depending on reporting that we're getting. you mentioned cbs news and nbc
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and our own reporting. our fox brain room will try to nail a lot of this stuff down. it is clear from the outset, if you took the words as we were told over the past three years that you could keep your insurance, you can keep your doctor and you keep your health care plan, that's not happening for millions of americans. we can see that plan now. martha: we'll get into in a number of way this is morning. we have this fox knew alert because the head of the agency responsible for putting together obamacare is about to be on the hot seat at the top of the hour the house ways and means committee will grill medicare chief marilyn tavenner, her agency, the medicare & medicaid services, cms will be called throughout the hearings up until now, they hired the contractors you saw at the long table just the other day basically said, hey, it wasn't our fault. we did everything we were asked to do. this woman will be asked the questions what did you know
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about how well all of this was working? we'll be joined by a senior member of ways and means committee, congressman kevin brady from texas joins us minutes away. bill: tomorrow is a huge day. at this hour, kathleen sebelius appears before congress. chair of the hearing republican congressman from michigan, fred upton, he will join us later this hour in "america's newsroom" about the leading question he has for kathleen sebelius and a whole lot more. including did the president ask for a preview of the website before the website went live? how does it work? what would i see if i logged on? all that is coming up. martha: that is a question we've been asking for a while. it will be interesting to hear the answer to that question from kathleen sebelius. did he ever sit down with you and say, how does this work. let's run it. if not, why not. the president did not u.s. was secretly spying on dozens of leaders including the s.e. phone
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of german chancellor angela merkel. that raises more question this morning about what the president knows what is going on in his own administration. wendell goler is live at the white house. wendell there seems to be, according to all of these stories, when you stack them next to each other the president claiming himself he did not know or was not aware of a lot of things going on in the administration? >> you're right, martha. sometimes problems are not things that wouldn't necessarily rise to the level how the irs are determining whether groups are eligible for tax-exempt status or whether the website for his signature health care plan is sufficiently tested. sometimes they involve policy decisions like monitoring the telephone calls of our allies which has been going on shortly after the 9/11 attacks. the white house response to shrug off the question whether the president is out of the loop as more mudslinging from his critics. >> certainly true that you have conflate ad bunch of very disparate issues.
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>> republican critics are making the case though that the appears to be in the dark about some pretty significant stories that are swirling around this white house. >> well, republican critics say a lot of things, jim. >> reporter: republican national committee has certainly picked up the pattern, releasing a list of things that seemed to catch the president by surprise and calling it, the president, i'm sorry. martha, i've lost the -- martha: but it leads to sort of the next issue here. i'm thinking about even robert gibbs, the former close advisor of the president who has been critical in recent weeks about how the administration is currently handling things, now that he is not there anymore. so is it out of character for the administration that, at one point was considered to be so politically adept? >> reporter: well, you're right, presidential historian stephen hess of the brookings institute
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says sometimes it is convenient for the commander-in-chief to be out of the loop but aides better pick the times carefully. suggests in the long run mr. obama might be able to weather the storm over the nsa aggressive spying. but the botched obamacare rollout may be more problematic. here is a bit of what he had to say. >> clearly the question of, what now we call obamacare, that's a loop he had better be in because that is the legacy of his whole administration. that's a little different than whether chancellor merkel is upset today because somebody in the nsa was listening in on her cell phone. >> reporter: a lot of details seem unimportant when they happen, not so much when they explode, martha. martha: that's for sure. wendell, thank you so much. on the white house lawn, we'll see you in a bit. bill: fire works expected on the hill. remember this from just about a week ago. >> sir we have never been the systems integrator and we are not the systems integrator.
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>> who is charge of the systems integrator? >> cms is the responsible for end to end. bill: who is cms? center for medicare services and we'll hear from the head of the agency and one of the lawmakers asking the tough questions next hour. congressman kevin brady, the republican is in inside "america's newsroom" in a moment. martha: quite a bit happening on this story today. this for you today. two teenage girls charged with bullying this 12-year-old to the point where she went up to a water tower and took her own life, these two women, young girls, 12 and 14, now have a date in court. one of the girls hired high-powered attorney, jose baez, remember him, he was casey anthony lawyer. he represents the girl on the right-hand side of the screen. he believes all of this is way out of line. bill: superstorm sandy, it has been one year as of today. we go back to the scenes of so
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much heart break and devastation to see how those communities are now. >> sandy triggered a massive fire in the queens neighborhood of new york, also known as breezy point. at least 50 houses have burned to the ground. look at these images. [ male announcer ] there will be more powerful storms.
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bill: okay. fox news alert now. where the head of that agency said to be responsible for that obamacare rollout set to take the hot seat this morning, rather on capitol hill. you hear the word cms a lot today. that acronym stands for centers for medicare & medicaid services. the chief of that department, marilyn tavenner, will testify under oath, that is her on the screen. c-ms got plenty of blame a week ago when the contractors who put together the failed website testified. this is part of what was said. >> cms has the ultimate decision for a live or no-go decision. not cgi. we were not in a position. we're there to support our client.
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it is not our position to tell our client whether they should go live or not go live. >> all of the risks that we saw and all the concerns we had regarding testing were all shared with cms? >> that is decision made by cms. that is a cms call. that is contract not a contract towel call. >> we informed cms more testing was necessary. >> sir we're never been the systems integrate tore and we are not the systems integrator. >> who is charge for the systems integrator? >> cms is in charge end to end. bill: kevin brady, republican on the house ways and means committee. you will be in the hearing room. >> good morning bill. bill: what is your first question? you thought about it overnight. what did you come up with? >> like many americans, we have a lot of questions about the website, what is becoming clear the flaw is not simply the website. the flaw is the law itself. when you try to inject 159 new federal agencies, bureaucracies and commissions between you and
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your health care this is what happens and, this is the easy part. this was just the coverage. wait until the government starts making decisions on patient care, treatments and reimbursements. bill: you're going to have a lot more hearings on this. >> yeah. bill: more to the point, cms were the ones we were told, cms decided to go live. cms decided on the testing. cms decided on october 1st. that canadian contractor that testified, all the fingers of blame went to cms. is that where it stops? >> well, right now cms is the quarterback of the exchanges and the website. key questions that many of us have, credibility. you know, white house, secretary sebelius, c-ms repeatedly told the american public, this was ready to go october 1. none of it proved truthful. why should we believe them now when they say it will be okay soon? also, as you pointed out, millions of americans are being forced out of their.
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will there be a gap on family as coverage on january 1? i think there will be. bill: marilyn tavenner, as late as september, she is one testifying today, predicted the affordable care act would have a smooth launch october 1st. what was she thinking? >> i'll tell you only repeated what everyone in the white house was saying and in fact several weeks before the october 1 launched we asked the exchange director, have you tested this program successfully with just some pilot applications. we were assured they had. well we learned now from documents they weren't anywhere close to that. this goes to the whole issue of credibility. the point being, obamacare is not ready. so why not make it voluntary? why force it on americans who can't afford the higher prices and frankly don't want this
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health care? bill: do you know if the president was shown the website before it went public? >> you know i don't know. from what we've read from documents certainly the agency was at white house a lot. the president claims to be, whenever there is a problem nowhere near that problem but this is his signature legacy issue in the white house. i would be surprised that he was such a distant commander-in-chief on this. >> 41 minutes away. kevin brady, thank you for your time now. >> thank you, bill. bill: 10:00 a.m. eastern time. thank you. martha. martha: in florida they are accused of driving a little girl to suicide after spending an entire year making her life miserable online. coming up we will speak with jose baez, the high-profile attorney now representing one of these teenagers. he says this whole thing is unfair. he will tell us why. bill: also one year ago today it was sandy that ravaged the east coast. here is a shot what the storm
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looked at almost this very moment one year ago, screen right. we will show you what one of the hardest hit areas looks like 3635 days later. -- 365. >> they're expecting the surge to be eight to 12 feet along the jersey shore which would be well over our heads here. [ male announcer ] staying warmnd dry has never been our priority. our priority is, was and always will be serving you, the american people. so we improved priority mail flat rate to give you a more reliable way to ship. now with tracking up to eleven scans, specified delivery dates, and free insurance up to $50 all for the same low rate. [ woman ] we are the united states postal service. [ man ] we are the united states postal service. [ male announcer ] and our priority is you. go to usps.com® and try it today.
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martha: we're back. this fox news alert. exactly one year to the day since superstorm sandy made herself known all up and down the east coast, devastating the region. as that storm was approaching, it became very clear it was becoming a monster out there, watch this. >> hurricane sandy now picking up speed as it comes closer to land. >> they're expecting the surge to be eight to 12 feet along the
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jersey shore which obviously would be well over our heads here. >> could have maximum wind at 90 miles per hour by the time it makes land. >> this is the most catastrophic event that we have faced and have been able to plan for in any of our lifetimes. >> this will be a long haul. the days ahead will be very difficult. there will be people who die and are killed in this storm. >> this is not a time to be showoff. this is not a time to be stupid. >> a live look now, point pleasant in new jersey where the such has set near the spot where the forecasters say the hurricane is now coming ashore. >> we've seen really the winds strong enough to snap stop signs in half. i've been seeing small objects fly through the air. >> i'm not sure if you can see the water that's rushing down the street but there are white caps coming off the ocean. the dune that is were there protecting the land from the sea have completely washed away. >> word of what looks like,
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there you see it right there, a huge explosion at a con-ed plant. >> trees are down on the main roads, side roads and also the parkways. it is dangerous out there. >> these are scenes from down in the lower east side of cars completely submerged. >> we knew this was going to be a very dangerous storm and the storm has met our expectations. >> sandy triggered a massive fire in the queens neighborhood of new york, also known as breezy point. at least 50 houses have burned to the ground. look at these images! >> more than seven million americans across 17 states now without power. preliminary estimates for damage, $20 billion. this will be one of the most expensive natural disasters in u.s. history. >> ortly beach, seaside heights, seaside park are almost completely underwater. the level of devastation at the jersey shore is unthinkable.
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martha: in fact it was, it is second in terms of monetary damages only to katrina. it's a heart-breaking story every single day still for so many people in these devastated areas. this is seaside heights new jersey, one year later after a massive construction project to rebuild. our rick leventhal was reporting round-the-clock when the storm first hit. he is back there live from seaside heights where the boardwalk is still reeling from the effects of the storm there. so, rick, tell us what is it like there one year later? >> reporter: you know, martha, it depend where you're looking. you can see the construction going on that fun town pier where the jet star roller coaster fell into the ocean. the boardwalk to the north of us is in great shape. it was all rebuilt. right here where they had to chop through the boardwalk for a firebreak when the boardwalk went you up in flames. you see businesses that were torn down damaged by the fire.
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as we walk towards sew seaside park the neighboring jurisdiction, you can see the whole rest of this boardwalk, several blocks of it, had to be torn out. we want to take you back one year ago to show you the jet star roller coaster, a iconic image destroyed when it fell into the atlantic ocean, when the peer was knocked down by hurricane sandy's ferocious winds and storm surge. since february they were cleaning up and started pile the first piling for 8 million-dollar rebuilt boardwalk. that boardwalk project finished in time for the summer. then in september, a faulty wire at a business on the south end of that boardwalk a wire apparently damaged by hurricane sandy saltwater, spark ad fire that consumed six blocks of boardwalk and at least 69 businesses. that leaves them now where we are today, with a massive project to clear out all the damaged buildings, all the damaged boardwalk and begin the
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rebuilding process yet again, martha. martha: unbelievable that fire swept in there in september, not quite a year after the storm first hit a year ago today. where do they go from here, rick? how are things going to really go now for that area? >> reporter: well i want to bring in the mayor of seaside heights, william acres. thanks for being with us, mr. mayor. we see a lot of devastation yet again here. you're faced with another rebuilding project. where do you go from here? >> fortunately we're in much better shape this time. the first time around nobody had any idea what to do. this was the first experience for everybody. this is much simpler. this is smaller scale. all the plans are in place. we know what to do. we know where to get the lumber. we know how to do this. unfortunately we're seasoned. >> reporter: some of businesses like the beachcomber here is still open despite being surrounded by devastation yet so many other businesses burned to the ground. >> no rhyme or reason.
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look to the left of beachcomber, that's gone. you look to the right of the beachcomber that's gone. beachcomber was spared, they had a good springer system, they did the right thing. >> reporter: you guys are strong enough to do this over again? >> absolutely. there is no alternative, without getting our doors open, without getting this rebuilt this is how everyone makes their living. >> reporter: mr. mayor, we appreciate your time. martha, we'll spend the rest of this day going up and down the jersey shore and showing you how the different towns are coping with the aftermath of hurricane sandy. martha: they're jersey strong. they're an incredible people in the community, rick. we'll watch you throughout the day. thanks for being there. >> reporter: thank you. bill: a lot of people are just not happy with what they have been given. moments away from a news conference. top republican lawmakers as we learn the white house was fully aware that millions of americans would lose their insurance. martha: 12 girl -- 12-year-old girl takes her own life after a
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year of relentless bullying. now the two young girls are in court today. why the attorney for the girl on the left argues that his client should be treated like a victim. she is not a criminal. that is coming up. >> why is this child, thrown and thrust into the spotlight? why is this child having to go to court with cameras following her and why is her, why is the sheriff of the county stuffing her mug shot in front of all of the cameras? it's a growing trend in business:
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martha: we're back now with this fox news alert. one of the two florida girls is accused of bullying 12-year-old rebecca sedwick to death is set to appear in court later today of the she will have her pretrial hearing. rebecca took her own life after at least a year of brutal harrassment online. it started at school. her mother pulled her out of school. it continuing, stalking her threw her cell phone. this is a look at the two girls being charged in this case, ages 12 and 14 years old. a polk county sheriff has been very outspoken and strong on this case. he has charged these two girls with third-degree felonies of stalking. now we have the high-profile defense attorney jose baez who defended casey anthony you may remember. he claims the sheriff is unfairly targeting his client on
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the left-hand side of the screen. he represents caitlin roman on this case. jose, good to have you with us. good morning to you. >> thank you, good morning. martha: when you look at this story and see what the girls were say about this young girl that took her own life, she was 12 years old, not even a young woman at this stage of her life, it is brutal to read what was said and yet you believe that your client is innocent in all of this. why? >> well, your statement to start with, let me start there. the statements that these girls were saying, there is zero statements that are in the record that my client specifically said to rebecca or to anyone else for that matter. the statement that is are attributed, are attributed to the codefendant, not to my client. martha: let me ask you then. why did your client say online after rebecca killed herself, i feel like rebecca is dead because of me? i deserve to die? >> well, this is a child in the
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grieving process and how many times do we have someone who dies in our life and we feel guilty for the bad things we said to them or perhaps the things we didn't say to them? this is a child who was never had to face death before and this has been extremely traumatic. she feels horrible for all of the things that these two friends went through but it nowhere near raises to the level of a criminal offense. martha: let me ask you, jose, so people understand the backstory on this what i have learned is that your client was rebecca's best friend, is that true? >> they were friend. martha: they were friends. all right. we'll categorize them as friend. would you say they were good friend? >> yes, i would. martha: okay. so then, you know, it is a boy-girl thing of the other young, the other 14-year-old starts dating somebody that used to be involved i guess to the mention tent that 12-year-olds might be with this same boy. that is when the taunting began.
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rebecca's mother, the 14-year-old defendant that jose is not representing i should point out. rebecca's mom said the taunting, stalking, it was physical, it was in person. that will come into effect here as well. you claim your clients did nothing online but what about in person? was she part of any of this physical or verbal abuse in person? >> this, first of all the issue with the boy, with the codefendants, my client has absolutely nothing to do with that. you could someone see there is lot of animosity built between those two individuals. now my client and rebecca got into schoolyard fight almost a year prior to her committing suicide. they stopped being friends. there was very little contact in between then. and that is raises, that is basically the extent of her involvement in this case so -- martha: the sheriff in the case, just, grady judd, has been very outspoken on this. he wants you to talk to the state's attorney. he says it is highly unlikely that these girls will do
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anytime. they have no prior infractions with the law. haven't been in trouble prior to this. he says you need to go talk to the state's attorney. he says you need to stop defending your client and what you need to do is make a good deal for her and help her move on in her life and become a person who would not be involved in something like this. what do you say to him? >> well i would prefer the sheriff leave the practicing law up to me who has a law license and he does not. so i think he should work in law enforcement, investigate crimes and make arrests and turn them over to the state attorney's office. what he is doing now is outside of the scope of a law enforcement officer where, imagine this was your child and a sheriff goes out, makes an arrest and then starts parading her mug shot around national television and just keeps holding press conference after press conference. martha: i would be very upset, if indeed your client had no involvement. >> in fact he wants to take legal action against her. martha: i would be devastated if my child had nothing to do with
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it. how do you explain your client got swept into the vortex if she truly has nothing to do with it? >> all of these girls are friends. there was a record of schoolyard fight that happened almost a year prior to the event. and, you know, kids talk. i think they made this arrest swiftly, quickly because of the codefendant's last posting on facebook. martha: which i just want to remind everybody, the other defendant, not the one you're representing, said, wait a minute, why are you still alive she said to rebecca? this is when rebecca started posting herself as the name, the dead girl and saying good-bye to her friends. she said according to the testimony, this is rebecca, not the girl who said this, the other girl said, drink bleach and die, go kill yourself. afterwards, she said, thank god she's dead. that is when the sheriff said, you know what? enough. he swept in and began the process here. he believes that your client is also, is also guilty here, jose. >> well i respectfully disagree and i will tell you, a lot of
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those facts are a little different, there are issues with another boy being involved. martha: okay. >> this is not what has been portrayed out there through these press conferences by the sheriff. i think he needs to let the state attorney do their job and to go beyond the scope of being a law enforcement officer, shows lack of respect for the system. i think heto just step away and let lawyers handle it from this point on. martha: that is how we want to cover this story as well. we want to be fair to your client. we want to be fair to the other client and we want to get all of the information out there that is, will become the eventual reality of what happened here but let me ask you this. he is also pointing fingers at the parents. he saying, you didn't know what was going on with your child. you weren't involved enough. allowed her to go on internet after the young girl took her life and posted things on the internet. how discussions she will have school at home and stay online, when being online was such a
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problem. do you think the parents are culpable to any extent in this story? >> as it relates to my client and their, and her parents i would say no. you know, these are, i will be straight with you. these are flawed human beings just like everyone else. these are parents that wished they had some way of addressing this issue a lot sooner to know a little bit more but, you know, my client didn't even have a computer. so how much more can you control what's going on at school and in addition to that, you have, my client was an a-b student from kindergarten to 7th grade. they're doing something right. while they're not perfect human beings, they made mistakes in their lives, they certainly i don't think are accountable in any way, shape or form here. martha: you agree this is tragedy. >> absolutely, absolutely. martha: for all the families.
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>> but the answer -- martha: there are some kids affected about i different degrees what happened here but, go ahead quickly. >> but, martha, what we're trying to do now is stop more tragedy from happening. >> understood. >> i think throwing the child in a spotlight like this is the wrong thing to do. martha: hope you come back to talk to us about this. >> absolutely. martha: see you next time. >> a lot more attention real soon in court. the main event over obamacare tomorrow at this hour, kathleen sebelius will take the hot seat on cab toll hill. the man running that show, michigan's fred upton, is live here today, what he wants to know on the disasterous obamacare rollout. he is next.
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bill: we're waiting on this now we're minutes away from hearing from the medicare chief marilyn tavenner. she is on the hot seat over the big stumbles over the obamacare rollout. then tomorrow, tavenner's boss,
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health and human services secretary kathleen sebelius, she will appear before congress. republican fred upton, is chairs the house energy and commerce committee. that is the hearing holding a hearing on sebelius tomorrow. i talked to him a short time ago. fred upton, thank you for your time today from can toll hill. what is your first question to kathleen sebellius? >> well you know, we have a ton of questions that are coming. one of the most recent developments of course the administration has known for years despite their pledge you could keep your health insurance if you liked it, it is not true. millions of americans are getting sheets of paper, the notice saying it is all over for them. i introduce legislation last night. we may see that in the house floor next couple weeks. we think it will be a bipartisan effort. the bottom line for us, all summer long, the administration, whether it be cms, whether hhs, anyone in the administration they'd they would be ready october 1st.
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the hearing that we had last week, this was so compartmentalized that the left hand didn't know what the right hand was doing. they didn't do any what we call line to line testing, really seeing if it was going to work until only a week or two before the october 1st date and of course it failed. bill: why would that be? think about that for a moment. why would that be the case? >> pathetic is the right answer. i mean they spent hundreds of millions of dollars. even earlier this week the system was down and, you know, as we all know, when you order a pizza, when you get on to, get an airline reservation, a hotel, whatever, you expect to get on right away, you make that reservation and at the end of the day, whenever you need that product it's there for you. this is only the first step. logging on. the harder, much harder step is probably going to be come january or later when people think they're in, maybe, if they're able to wait through the queue and they actually need
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that service. they go to the doctor's office, they go to the hospital, who knows whether that provider is going to have access to that information. was it secure when they logged on? i think that will be an issue that -- bill: these are all interesting questions. i don't know how she is going to answer them, frankly. two specific questions, was it her decision to launch on october 1st, yes or no? >> my bet is the answer was yes. she could have stopped it if they didn't think it was ready. bill: could the president have stopped it? >> the buck stops somewhere, right? bill: will you ask her that? >> yeah. i think, well, that was the, that was the answer from the contractors when we asked them, they passed it on to a higher level and in essence to the administration. and i would have thought that if they knew it was fraught with problems, and clearly i think they did, why didn't they delay it? they delayed the employer mandate? isn't that fair? bill: did the president ask to see the website before the
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launch date? >> i don't know. that would be a good question for us to ask tomorrow, thank you. bill: not here to give you too many ideas but is there any proof that he, he had his administrator come into the oval office and say, show me how this thing works? if i fire up this website, what will i see when i log on? >> especially knowing you will remember that there was a vote in the senate to make sure that the administration, as well as top levels of congress, whether we're under obamacare, affordable care act or not that would have been a good, that will be a good question. i will bet it comes up tomorrow. bill: she said the other day more testing would have been preferable. i think you would agree with that. i think everybody would agree with that. she made a comment that she doesn't work for more or less dissenting in their opinion about obamacare and rollout, how that goes, i imagine that could be a question as well. >> well -- bill: one final point here. do you see an extension of the sign-up period? do you see an extension of the
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individual mandate? and if so, you bring on a whole host of problems within this law itself. got about 20 seconds left to answer that. >> that's right. you bring on a whole number of questions and that's why it might be easier just to say, hey if you like your health insurance can keep it, that is our bill, probably bipartisan we'll do, get it up for debate and vote on the house floor early next month. bill: fred upton, republican from michigan. we'll be watching 9:00 a.m., eastern time, kathleen sebellius as you're with us. thank you, sir. >> you bet. martha: so, did the obama administration know that millions of people actually would lose their health insurance under obamacare? hundreds of thousands have already gotten cancellations. we have so many tweets coming in from people who say they have lost their coverage. millions more could follow. we have got stunning new details on what the white house knew and when they knew it. >> when president obama looked the american people in the eye and said if you like your health
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bill: minutes from now, the head of the agency said to be responsible for obamacare will be on the hot seat, said to be responsible we say, that is the accusation leveled against this group last week. at the top of the hour, the house ways and means committee inside that room will grill medicare chief marilyn tavenner. it is her agency. she is the only witness today that apparently hired contractors that put together a website that does not work for many. headlines from that hearing when it begins right here. martha: empty now. full in a moment, that room. disturbing discovery out of los angeles, the second time this week human remains found at
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another water treatment plant. this after several body parts discovered 25 miles away. will carr from los angeles with more on the disturbing story. will, do the authorities think the body parts belong to one person? are they murder victims they didn't know about? unsolved cases? what is going on here? >> reporter: good morning, martha, those are great questions. right now authorities belief all these parts belong to the same body. they say the logic is, they believe somebody took this body, shoved it through a manhole cover while it was all in one piece. at some point it probably got dismembered by some heavy machinery down in the sewer lines. now yesterday morning crews were checking a plug in one of those lines. that is when they found a woman's torso. they believe the torso is that of a hispanic woman. now they believe that gruesome discovery is linked to finding several other body parts, a pelvis and legs that were found at another wastewater treatment plant on saturday. keep in mind these two plants
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are more than 20 miles away from each other but they are connected by the same sewage lines. because of the suspicious nature of all this, martha, they are treating this as a homicide. martha: wow, what a story. thank you very much. we'll stay tuned, for more on that from los angeles. >> what were the marching orders to launch healthcare.gov? what did the president know about it? you're about to hear from the woman in charge of overseeing the site's creation. she will be in the hearing room in a matter of minutes, top of the hour. >> stick around for that moments away. john boehner will step in front of the podium in a few minutes. we'll hear what the gop has to say about the latest news. we'll be right back. could save you fifteen percent or more on car insurance. mmmhmmm...everybody knows that. well, did you know that old macdonald was a really bad speller? your word is...cow. cow. cow. c...o...w...
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martha: all right, folks, get ready. we could see some fireworks in a few minutes on capitol hill. a hearing on obamacare is about to get started, this time in the hot seat we have the head of the agency that was responsible for health care governor. welcome to a -- healthcare.gov.
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bill: i'm bill hemmer. apparently, she has an opening statement where she will apologize for all the glitches, and they're working to fix it. still, though, then the questions come. congressman kevin brady is asking some of those questions in the hearing. he was with us just last hour on "america's newsroom", and this is what he saidment. >> i think what's becoming clear is the flaw is not simply the web site, the flaw is the law itself. when you try to inject 159 new federal agencies, bureaucracies and commissions between you and your health care, this is what happens. and this is the easy part. this was just the coverage. wait until the government starts making decisions on patient care, on treatments and reimbursements. martha: chief congressional correspondent mike emanuel is live on capitol hill. mike, what are some of the specific lines of questioning that we expect we're going to hear from these lawmakers today? jr. we expect to hear lawmakers ask why there was not better
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testing of the web site well ahead of the october 1st rollout. you can also expect lawmakers to ask marilyn talfer in, about why the administration was telling various congressional committees that the web site was on track when now it is clear they were not. you can also expect some lawmakers to bring up the anxiety millions of americans are facing now that they are losing their current health care plans while the site that is responsible for signing up for new coverage is not fully functioning. and then we expect we will also hear lawmakers talk about security. >> that information is very sensitive information that unless you can assure the american people who's getting in there and who's getting out or who has access to it to begin with is a very scary thing, because there's a lot of very personal information in that data hub. >> reporter: and we've heard a variety of lawmakers including the chairman of the house intelligence committee, mike rogers, worrying that that web
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site with all that sensitive information could be a hacker's dream. martha? martha: yeah. that's clearly one of the the big questions here today, mike, in terms of how they change the web site. because we heard as they got closer, today wanted it to work so that you wouldn't know how much the plan you were working on was going to be until you had put in all of that information, some of it very private. so that's a big factor. also, do you expect -- have you heard on capitol hill that they're going to press ms. tavner on how much kathleen sebelius knew? because she's, of course, up tomorrow in front of in this panel. do we expect that as well? >> reporter: absolutely, martha. you have the four federal contractors last thursday who said they were keeping cms, the centers for medicare and medicaid services, abreast of how their testing was going, and yet it was not their call in terms of whether to roll out october isst or not to -- october 1st or not. a lot of lawmakers think maybe
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sebelius made the call, she's testifying here tomorrow. martha: that's really interesting. we're ant to get our first -- about to get our first sense of how good a handle she had on all of this. we'll be going in and out of this. let's go in for a little bit and see what it sounds like. >> the widespread problems of obamacare cannot. almost daily we hear reports of increasing costs, harming job creation and forcing americans off their current plan. these problems can't be fixed through a technical surge or tech surge, and tear not just a glitch in someone's -- they're not just a glitch in someone's health care coverage or job. not a week goes by that i don't hear from job creators about the increasing costs and how obamacare's making it harder for businesses to invest, grow and hire people. just last month meridian public schools in my district announced it would be cutting the schedules of hourly workers to fewer than 30 hours per week as a result of obamacare. and this month the "detroit free
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press" reported that at least 146,000 publish ganders have received notices due to obamacare. based on what little information the administration has disclosed, it turns out that more people have received cancellation notices for their a health care plans this month than have enrolled in the exchanges. the widespread acknowledgment that the health care exchanges were not tested months in advance as promised is cause for concern, but the concerns don't stop there. the treasury inspector general warned in august that it was not confident about the irs' ability to protect confidential taxpayer information or to prevent fraud. and neither am i. on top of that, the exchange does not give individuals the information they need to make an informed health care decision. when going through the options, how are americans able to see if they're even eligible to be in the exchange, if their current doctor is in the plan, what the real cost of their premiums will be and how much their co-pay
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will be? no amount of web site fixes can make right the president's broken promises that health care costs will be lowered by $2500. or that americans will be able to keep the plan they have and like. those are worthy goals. reducing costs and maintaining coverage, and they're ones that we should all work together to accomplish. i'd be remiss if i didn't remind my colleagues that the they were put forward by republicans at the time was the only plan scored by the nonpartisan congressional budget office as actually reducing premiums. democrats chose to go down another path, and that's where it's led us. instead of following forward with this workable law, the administration should at a minimum seriously consider delaying the law for families and individuals just as it has done for big business. if they fail to do so, i fear we could see a fundamental breakdown of the insurance market where premiums will skyrocket, pricing millions of americans out of health care yet
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still be forced to pay the individual mandate tax. administerrer tavner, we cannot solve the problem until we realize the full extent of the problem. your answers will be critical to this committee's oversight and more importantly to our work to make sure americans have access to affordable health care. before i recognize ranking member levin for the purpose of an opening statement, i ask unanimous consent that all members' written statements be included in the record, and without objection, so ordered. i now recognize ranking member levin for his opening statement. >> thank you, mr. chairman. and colleagues -- bill: so there's the opening statement from dave camp. we're going to get to the questions in a moment here, but remember the witness has an opening statement, and it's our belief that she's going to apologize for the glitches and make an all-out appeal to get it up and running as soon as possible. then the questions come. and the questions will be very interesting. so we're going to dip in and out of this. when we get headlines, we'll
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make sure you don't misthem at home -- miss them at home. we're also taking commercial breaks this hour, too, so ed henry's at the white house now reacting to this story about so many hundreds of thousands if not millions of americans who were told they liked their insurance, they keep it, and apparently that's not the case. ed, where are we on this now, and what is the white house doing to explain it? >> reporter: good morning, bill. the bottom line is this just shows that beyond the web problems the administration is really struggling to implement this law. when you say it could be millions, you're right. there are up to 14 million people in this country who pay for their own insurance, have their own plans. and three years ago a key selling point from the president was if you like your plan, you have a plan, you can keep that plan. period, he said. that's it. end of story. yesterday i pressed jay carney on that point all these cancellation notices that are going out around the country, and he pushed back, but first of all -- he did two things. first of all, he acknowledged for the first time at the podium
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that, yes, the if you like your plan, you may not be able to keep it. he insists for the vast majority of americans who are now signing up for medicaid or have employer-based insurance, we should note, you're likely to be able to keep your plan. not guaranteed, but likely. there are some employers who are shifting things around. the second thing that jay carney was saying though, look, in the end these folks who are losing their plans even though they like them are going to get better insurance over the long run. they're going to have maternity coverage, all these great things the white house says. but you're already seeing people on social media saying, look, what if i'm 65 years old and i don't want maternity coverage? all of a suddenst going to be $500 a month as one bomb in florida told cbs news yesterday that her coverage, she's got a plan on her own going from $50 a month to $500 a month. so the bottom line is what this shows is a firm of things. one, beyond the web site they're having all kinds of trouble implementing this law.
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secondly, this hearing today is really just a prelude, as martha suggested, until tomorrow when kathleen sebelius who's the lead person here as health and human services secretary. remember, she didn't testify last week when the contractors were dragged up there to be grilled. she's going to be under the hot lights tomorrow, and that east going to be something to watch closely. bill: the headlines are popping every day. what is your sense about how much further this law stays intact as is? >> reporter: well, that's -- bill: or how much, you know, flexibility does the white house want to put into this in. >> reporter: right now there's not a lot of flexibility because the white house realizes sort of that thread on the suit, you pull be it, and all of a sudden the whole thing's coming apart. bill: that's true. >> reporter: that's why they pushed back so much at ted cruz and other republicans. here's the key moving forward, to answer your question, what do democrats on capitol hill do. it's very significant that over the last week you've now had at least ten senate democrats say
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not that they want to dismantle the law, but they want to change it in some way, and most of those democrats are up for re-election in 2014. they're getting nervous. the american people are saying, wait a second, where are we? am i going to lose my coverage? am i -- are my premiums going to go up? what's happening here? and so that's the key. the pressure on the white house is not going to come from republicans, that's already out there. the key is going to be how many democrats say we've got to the change this law. bill: ed, thanks for that. we'll talk to you later, and as you mentioned, sebelius tomorrow. the news of the day is on this program called cms. martha: and ed's point is well taken. this is going to be a huge 2014 election issue, and that is one of the reasons that you see so much emphasis from both sides on this. kathy mcmorris rodgers as the gop makes their feelings known, john boehner spoke moments ago. we're going to tell you exactly what he had to say about this, and the hearing on the left-hand side of your screen will get heated, no doubt, when the
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questioning starts to unfold here. will the thread on the suit, as ed talked about, begin to get tugged on and potentially unravel for obamacare? we'll be right back. [ male announcer ] this is not just a laptop. they're not usually this thin, this light.
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bill: as expected, while we were in commercial, marilyn tavenner
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has begun her opening statement. let's drop in right now. >> applications for coverage have been submitted across the nation. more than half of those are in the federal marketplace alone. this tremendous interest confirms that american people are looking for quality affordable health care coverage. we mow that the consumer experience -- we know that the consumer experience has been frustrating for many americans. some have had trouble creating accounts and logging into the site while others have received confusing error messages or had to wait for slow response times. this initial experience has not lived up to our expectations or the expectations of the american people, and it is not acceptable. we are committed to improving the performance and have already made progress. in the first few days when the site went live, few customers could create an account. now over 90% can. we've updated the site several times, fixing bugs and improving the healthcare.gov experience, and we've added more capacity in order to meet demand. we are pleased with these quick improvements, and parts of the system are already working well.
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for example, the day hub, the routeing tool that provides an efficient and secure way to verify information submitted by consumers, is sending determinations to the marketplace in less than 1.2 seconds. social security has reported 4.2 million transactions with the hub, and the irs has responded to more than 1.3 million requests. even with the success, we know there's still significant work to do, and we've called in a team of experts led by jeff simes to identify and prioritize fixes. we've spent the last few weeks, last week going over that, and while these problems will require a lot of hard work, the bottom line conclusion is this healthcare.gov site is fixable. to get the job done, we've identified a clear path forward, a lot of fixes that will be undertaken one by one. to insure the work is done as quickly and efficiently as possible, we've enlisted the help of qssi to serve as general contractor for this project. they are familiar with the
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complexity of the system, and the work they provided for healthcare.gov, the federal data hub, is working well and and performing as it should. qssi has the skills and expertise to help us address these problems. they will work with leadership and contractors to prioritize the needed fixes and make sure today get done. we are committed to improving the consumer experience with healthcare.gov. while we continue this work, i encourage people to continue to apply by phone, by mail or by finding local help in their community. the fact is the product of the affordable care act, a marketplace for quality affordable health insurance, will work. the product is not going away, and the people are not going to continue to wait. we know the price is not changing. we know americans have time to apply and enroll inaffordable coverage. thank you, chairman camp. >> well, thank you. um, administrator tavenner, how
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many people have enrolled in the exchanges? >> chairman camp, that number will not be available until mid november. we have over 700,000 who have completed applications. >> so you know the applicants, but do you know the enrollees? do you have an idea of how many of those applicants became enrollees? that's really the number that matters. >> we will not have that until mid november. we have people who are shopping now. we expect the initial number to be small, and i think you seen that in our projections, and that was the massachusetts experience as well. >> i have to tell you, the numbers i'm hearing from insurers in my home state of michigan are not good. in fact -- of enrollees, a very small number. in fact, i think i could have a meeting in my office and have all of them fit in of people who have been successfully enrolled in the plans. i understand that cms' stated goal is seven million enrollees by the end of march. is that correct? >> that's correct. >> and i think critically important of that seven million,
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2.3 million of those need to be young and healthy. i think those are your metrics, is that correct? >> i don't have that metric with me, but i'll check on it. >> okay. i believe those are numbers that cms has put out. the associated press reported in early september that there was a memo prepared for the assistant -- by the assistant secretary for planning and health. are you awar of that press story -- aware of that press story and that memo? i think it went through your office to secretary sebelius. >> that went through the enrollment numbers? >> yes. and it said there were month to month predictions showing a path to the seven million that i mentioned. >> right. >> could you make that memo available to the committee? >> certainly. >> um, according to the press report that the memo estimated that 494,620 people would sign up for health insurance under the program by october 31st. now, we're obviously very near that date. have you met that estimate? >> we will not have those
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numbers available until mid november. >> so do you not know? do you not have any idea of how many people have enrolled, or are you -- >> since we're still in the process of enrolling both in the state-based exchanges and in the federal exchange, and we will have those numbers available in mid november. >> are you getting those numbers? >> am i getting those numbers? not yet. >> you have no numbers on who's enrolled, so you have no idea? >> we will have those numbers available mid november. >> so no one is forwarding even weekly updates on -- >> i think you've seen some of the press, and i think that was on the graph earlier about what states have listed. we will get those numbers in the mid november. >> but i understand you're not publicly releasing those numbers, but i'm asking do you have any idea of on a weekly basis how many people enroll? i mean, how do you not know how many people have enrolled? >> chairman camp, we will have those numbers available in mid november.
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>> but is your staff updating you on those? are you getting those on a periodic basis? i realize you're not prepared to give this to the committee even though this is a government program and we're trying to do oversight here and we're trying to understand what the problems are, but do you have some idea of what those problems might be? in terms of the numbers? >> i'm not quite sure what you're asking me. >> well, you've said that 700,000 people have completed the application process, so clearly you're getting some information. do you have any idea of how many of those can move to the next step of enrolling, looking at plans? how many are eligible? >> so -- >> how many have decided to enroll? >> once individuals complete the application, then they go into the shopping experience where they can look at plans. we do get numbers on the number of applications, and then we need to break those out, and that's what i said, this is part of the rollout that we will give in mid november for the october data. >> okay. so you do have the applications,
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which is the 700,000 number, but you don't have how many people successfully enrolled. >> i'm saying people are still in the process of enrolling. >> of those 700,000, do you know how many of those are eligible for medicaid at this point? >> we have some information on who is eligible for medicaid, and then obviously states have their own information about that, and it depends on whether a state is expanded or not and what's going on inside. it's very state specific. >> can you share with the committee the information you have about those that have enrolled that are eligible for medicaid? >> we will also have that information available in mid november as well. >> because that would mean of those 700,000 a significant portion could not be enrolling in the -- would not be in the exchange if they're qualifying for medicaid, isn't that correct? >> we will have that information available to you in mid november. >> yeah. but the law is that if they are eligible for medicaid, they're not end rolling in the exchange -- enrolling in the exchange, that's my question. >> correct. >> so there could be a significant portion of that
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700,000 that would not be enrolling in an exchange, is that correct? >> there could with be numbers in there that will be eligible for medicaid, that's correct. >> do you know how many of the 700,000 have qualified employer-sponsored insurance and, therefore, will not be eligible for the exchange? >> those individuals who have employer-sponsored insurance usually at the end of the application they're asked that, and if that's the case, they usually don't proceed. >> do you know how many of those 700,000 are young adults say under the age of 26 who might choose to stay on their parents' plan if it's cheaper? >> i do not. >> and do you know how many are undocumented aliens and who may not be el visible the to -- eligible to enroll in the exchange? >> as you are aware, we actually have a connection through the data hub to check for that, and if they are not eligible, they do not complete the application, they do not go on to shop. >> but of these 700,000, do you have any idea how many are just
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looking and how many are trying to end roll? >> -- enroll? >> we actually look at the people who are shopping and, obviously, the majority of the people who are completing applications are there to actually purchase insurance, and so they continue to go through the shopping experience. >> well, there are media reports that say as many as 80% of that 700,000 number are actually eligible for medicaid. is that a number you'd dispute? enter i don't know where that media report is or how they would get that information. >> if that's true, that's the only information we're getting, frankly, today. i frankly would have hoped for a little bit more from you. but if that's true, then less than 140,000 of these applicants are potentially enrollees in the exchange, and that's assuming they don't have employer-provided coverage, that's assuming they can't stay on their parents' plan or otherwise ineligible in some other way. but that means you're likely to hit less than one-quarter of the this october estimate of
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494,620. how many people did you estimate would enroll between november 15th and december 15th, which we're two weeks off from that period? >> i don't have that in front of me. i'll be happy to get you that information. >> if you could get that to the committee, i'd certainly appreciate that. but i think given that the back end systems aren't working and insurers have resorted to manually enrolling people one by one, i just think the system doesn't literally have the human resource capacity to manually enroll the numbers that are being projected here. i assume that many people are holding off, the young and healthy. so the risk pools in these exchanges are not going to align with the projections. so i think not only are we going to miss the seven million enrollee target, it appears we're going to miss the demographic makeup as well, and that's going to be very important to having a
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functioning system. if the demographics are wrong and there aren't as many young people enrolling, what happens then? what happens to premiums? >> i think the premiums are locked down for 2014. so, obviously, the next six months of enrollment are critical, and i'll remind you that enrollment does occur until march 31, 2014. i will also remind you that the massachusetts experience was very slow initially and started to ramp up over time. we expect the same type of projections. >> but it doesn't look like your even meeting your own projections that you had prepared. >> i have not listed any information on enrollment. i think there's some assumptions you're making. >> well, i'm just referring to this associated press memo that i appreciate you're willing to give to the committee that said that half a million people would sign up by october 31st. and that they would enrollment enrollment -- enroll. but if we don't meet this
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demographic of 2.3 million young people, i mean, it's very clear that premiums will go through the roof whether in the next few months or in the future. and if that's where we're headed -- and it appears that we are -- how will you provide relief to individual americans who don't want or can't afford this insurance, and how do we prevent the premium spike in 20 15 and adjust the rices to reflect the -- prices to reflect the actual enrollee demographic? >> currently, if you look at the premiums for 2014, we did not see premium spikes. we actually saw a very competitive marketplace. in fact, we have over 200 issuers just in the federal exchange alone who have offered more than 3,000 plans at very competitive prices. so markets have as many as 54 plans in a market. we've also seen 25% new issueers in markets.
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so far what we've seen is the absolute opposite of what you're suggesting. >> have you enrolled if the plan? >> i have employer-sponsored insurance. i would not be eligible for the plan. >> from the federal government? is that what you mean? >> yes. >> so you're not participating in obamacare? >> i'm participating in employer-sponsored insurance which -- >> government -- >> 85% of the country does. >> so you have government insurance. so you're not -- have you gone on the site and tried to enroll or tried to shop for plans? >> i haven't gone onto shop for the plans. i went on and actually signed up for an account just to see what it looked like and go true the application process but did not sign up for coverage. i'm not eligible for coverage, nor did i shop. >> um, i just want to mention to you a letter that i received from my district, and this man wrote me and said my wife has been recently informed by her insurance carrier that her health care policy does not comply with the affordable care
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act. now we must purchase a new policy to get the same coverage at an 18% increase in our premium. so what happened to the if you like your insurance you can keep it question? what would you say to that individual? >> well, i would take him back to pre-affordable care act days where, in fact, if you were in the individual market, you were living at a 50% charge. half the people in the individual market prior to 2010 didn't stay on their policies. they were either kicked off for pre-existing condition, they saw their premiums go up at least 20% a year, and there were no protections for them, and sometimes they were in plans that they thought were fine until today actually needed hospitalization, then they found out it didn't cover hospitalization, or it didn't cover cancer. so i would take them back to the fact that since 1986 their health care costs and coverage have been the number one issue for small businesses for the last 0-30 years -- 20-30 years, and we've been talking about it for the last 20 or 30 years. that's actually why i came into
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this job, was to try to deal with this issue. so now what i would say is this: now if, in fact, the issuer has decided to change the plan, didn't have to. plans were grandfathered in in 2010. if hay didn't make significant changes in the cost sharing and this sort of thing, they could keep the plan that they had. but some insurance companies have decided, and i think that's what you were referring to in your opening statement, that they want to offer new plans. and if they offer new plans, they have to.com into the -- to come into the requirements of the affordable care act which is you have to offer the essential coverage benefits, you cannot judge people on pre-existing, you cannot discriminate based on sex. there are lots of things that are required under the affordable care act that actually protect consumers. but these premium increases were going on a long time prior to the affordable care act and, in fact, we've seen the most premium moderation in the last three years than we've seen probably in 15 or 20 years. that's what i would say to them. i'd try to explain to them the real issues. >> well, the carrier told them
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that the plan didn't comply, so -- but nothing you said had anything to do with how they can get their costs down. and i think that's the real problem that we're seeing here, is that the costs -- >> so what i would tell that individual is if their carrier is telling them they're changing the plan and they're offering an increase, that they would need to go take a look at what's available in their state and in their market which is certainly something that's available to them through the exchange. >> yeah. at an 18% increase. all right. with that i'll recognize mr. levin. >> well, thank you. a warm welcome. the chairman talked about the web site, and you said it's going to be fixed. and i might say if everybody would pitch in to make it work, the goals that have been set would be more readily met.
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that's what happened with the prescription drug program. we all pitched in to make it work. and it had major problems at the beginning. and instead of standing in the way, we said we didn't vote for it, let's make it work. it began to work. if we all had the same spirit about aca, it would be more than helpful. but then the chairman asked you about the notices that are coming from the insurance companies, and i'd like to ask you about that. a gentleman from michigan who had an $800 blue cross plan got this notice from michigan blue cross, went into the web site with the help of navigatorrers and ended up with a blue cross silver hmo plan with tax credits in that case instead of $800 a
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month it's $77 a month. and let me refer you to the interview on "meet the press" with the blue cross florida ceo. he was asked by david gregory in florida the oldest and largest health care plan provider, florida blue cross, confirmed it is cutting 300,000 policies. and this is what the chairman of blue cross of florida said. we're not cutting people, and i quote: we're actually transitioning people. what we've been doing is informing folks that their plan doesn't meet the test of the essential health benefits. therefore, they have a choice of many options that we make available through the exchange and, in fact, with subsidy many people will be getting better plans at a lesser cost. so this has become a matter of
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legitimate discussion, and i think all of us would appreciate your addressing it. >> sir, again, going back to prior to the affordable care act days, these individuals in a small group or individual market had no protections. they had no guarantees of coverage, and they were still being charged somewhere between 20% or more premium increases year-over-year. so they could be kicked out at any time for pre-existing condition. sometimes they thought they had coverage when they did not, and when they had a cancer diagnosis or a cardiac diagnosis, they found out maybe they had a $5,000 hospital limit, or they had certainties claimers. then, of course, there was also if you were diagnosed with asthma or high blood pressure you might not be able to get coverage at all. so that's what's different. so that's the first part.
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is the second part is in 2010 we told issuers to try to give some transition time if they wanted to keep policies as they were currently defined whether they were in a group market or an individual market, they could. and so some of them elected to do that. now some of them are moving to the new standards, and the standards under the affordable care act are pretty simple. you have to have the 80% mlr, so you can't be taking money more than the 20% to marketing, advertising, profit. you had to meet the ten essential health benefits. you had to define co-pay, deductible and diseases in clear and understandable terms so people would know what they were buying. you had to have choices among plans. and then there are folks in the individual market who when they go on the site may qualify for tax credits. some in some states may actually qualify for medicaid expansion. but this is not, this problem existed long before the affordable care act. now folks are transitioning to
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the new standards of the care ah guarantee you can't be denied, you won't be kicked off of a policy because you develop a problem, you may be eligible for tax credits depending on your income, so these are important protections that are now available through the affordable care act, and i think that's important. >> thank you. i yield back. >> all right. mr. johnson's recognized. >> thank you, mr. chairman. ms. tavenner, thank you for being here. you know, i've been hearing from folks back home who rightfully so are very serious about their concerns and fears about their health care. steven from plano tried to purchase insurance through the exchange but ended up more confused and frustrated. operators on the 1-800 line didn't have answers to his specific questions, they simply reiterated that anyone could sign up for the exchange, but he should wait until later that evening or the next day to apply
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since the systems were having technical difficulties. worse, a single father and police officer in plano went to renew his 11-year-old daughter's plan. she has no medical problems, yet her premiums doubled, doubled. those are real stories of fathers, mothers, sons and daughters who have to live with a law that up til now has completely failed them. ms. tavenner, the administration delayed the employer mandate for one year. the treasury witnessed before the committee -- witness before the committee testified the reason the administration granted big business a one-year delay is, quote: employers and their representatives have requested transition relief for 2014 because of concerns about the difficulty or cost of complying with the employer mandate. secretary sebelius appeared before this committee and
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repeatedly said obamacare was ready. it clearly wasn't. doesn't the failed launch indicate many individuals are going to have to at least have as much difficulty complying with the individual mandate as big business had with the employer mandate, yet from the announcement last night you've only given individuals a six week delay. cms announced 700,000 people had submitted applications for exchange coverage nationwide, but with all the challenges you have been facing, there are some serious questions about what these applicants know. cbs news reported, quote: the shop and browse feature is not giving consumers the real picture. in some cases, people could end up paying double what they see on the web site. so how many applicants applied based on the wrong premium information? do you know?
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>> the completed applications were done, the 70 to 0,000 -- 700,000, these were individuals who completed applications and figured out if they were eligible for tax credit. i do not know where cbs news is getting their information about erroneous tax credit, so i can't address that. i will say that in the individual mandate issue that folks can apply through march 31st. we have said publicly that we will have the web site in good working order by the end of november. we have always predicted that folks would increase their interest in enrollment in december and probably again in march. and so we believe that we are in good shape to handle that. >> well, if you've identified the problem and are taking steps to identify who received faulty price information, apologize and provide the right information. are you doing that now?
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>> yes, sir. if we've given people the wrong information, we will certainly correct it. but i'm not sure what cbs news is referring to. >> i'd like to bring to your attention a story which ran last week in "mother jones" with the headline, quote: how healthcare.gov could be hacked. let me just quote from the article. security experts say the federal health insurance web site is vulnerable to a common technique that hackers use to steal personal information. as you may know, i'm chairman of social security subcommittee, and one of my longest outstanding priorities has been to protect americans' social security numbers. so for the record, is obamacare web site 100% safe from hackers who could steal americans' personal information including their social security numbers, yes or no? >> >> we follow all the standards to protect information including social security numbers. >> you trying to say yes? >> am i trying to say, yes, that
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we follow the standards to protect information, yes, sir. >> you know, folks are confused and scared. they've heard horror stories and are now experiencing them firsthand. how can they trust the federal government to not only fix the web site, but more importantly, give them the assurance that their personal information will be safe and their health care will be affordable? that if they want to keep their current plan, they can do so? the problems don't stop at the technical failures of a web site. the real problem stems from the colossal failure to deliver what this lawed -- law promised the american people. thank you. >> all right, thank you. mr. rangel's recognized. >> thank you so much, mr. chairman, and welcome to our distinguished committee. you may wonder why the administration appears to be under such severe attack by some members of this committee, especially as it relates to our
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goal to provide health care for 30 million americans that can't afford or don't have access to it. it should give you some small comfort to know that historically the republican party always fought vigorously against these type of programs. i don't think that one republican voted for the social security act even though those old enough enjoy the benefits. >> that's ooh not accurate. -- that's not accurate. >> well, we'll see, maybe one or two. i don't know. >> no. >> but they opposed medicare. i spoke with president johnson, and he shared with me at the ranch the people that had signed off on medicare. and anyway, it's big government even if it saves lives. who cares. you're against big government, so why should obama be spared the attack because he wants
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americans to be healthy and strong and productive? we have to be consistent, and you guys and ladies have been. what i don't understand is that people aren't born as republican and democrats. and there has to be somebody regardless of party label that has suffered the embarrassment and the pain of being denied an insurance policy because they've been sick before. the people who actually need health care the most are too high a risk for some of the insurance companies, and this body -- republican and democrats -- allow things like this to happen. when i was a kid, if my mother took three of us three children to see a doctor and we weren't sick, they would think she's crazy. because you couldn't afford a doctor. now health care will provide you getting the type of treatment to avoid you being sick and having
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to lose your dignity and impersonal emergency rooms that provide the most expensive health care that we have. but republicans who have always been admired for being fiscal conservatives have certainly seen the price of health care, the lack of quality that we may have today soar to become such a part of our national budget that, in my opinion, is a threat to our national security. because as prone as some of you are to somewhere into conflict with other countries, you need healthy young people to fight these wars. and health care is important from birth throughout one's life. so i don't know how you're going to explain when this program which is destined to succeed, how politically you're going to
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explain your positions today. and since your entire political program is locked into hatred for the president and this program, it seems to me that we have to find other ways for us to politically combat each other. because i hate to see the day that there's no republican party and i have to rely just on my party for justice and fair play. and so we have to come together some kind of way to see what's best for america. now, you may not like the this program, and it certainly has been disappointing at the start, but what i want to see more from this committee is how can we improve and get quality health care for all americans. this has to be a part of the goal that all of you have. and you also have to recognize that when we're lucky enough to have public servants to work for the administration whether democrat or republican, that
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they are servants the same way we are, and they deserve some dignity as well. and so for america i hope and have every reason to believe like social security, like medicare that the goodness of the program will prevail, and if there's anything that we can do to help you -- and there may be some republicans that'll join with me -- to make certain that we get rid of what is not working and make certain everyone has access to health care, i wish i could see the politics involved in this, because i am a partisan. but a stronger america means a stronger party, and that's what we are all here for. and i just want to thank you for your dedication and to, for you to recognize that it's important to do our job and get on with it. thank you for your service. >> all right, thank you.
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mr. brady's recognized. >> just a quick ft check on the blast from the past. republicans did support social security and medicare and more recently republicans were the ones that reformed medicare to add that important prescription drug benefit so we could have seniors lead healthier lives, stay out of hospitals and enjoy their grandchildren more. what's become abundantly clear, the flaw is not the web site, the flaw is the law itself. this is what happens when you inject 159 new federal agencies, bureaucracies and commissions between you and your health care. and this was supposed to be the easy part. just wait until you see the government making decisions about patient care, about reimbursements and treatments that you receive from your local doctor and hospital. ms. tavenner, i have a great deal of respect for you, and i suspect many republicans do. yet the white house, secretary sebelius, you and your staff made repeated claims to the
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american public and to congress that everything would be ready on time, everything was a go. none of that proved to be true. now we're told everything will be okay very soon. so why should the american people believe you now? >> congressman brady, i would go back to what has worked in the three and a half years since the affordable care act was implemented. we have been able to make a difference in the lives of coverage of young people. we've been able -- >> but specifically on the web site and the exchanges. why should the american people believe you now? you've had nearly four years to get it ready. now you're saying in four weeks more it'll be great, so what's different? some why should anyone believe these -- why should anyone believe these claims? >> because i think we've identified two major problems. one had to do with the initial volume. and despite our best volume
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projections, we underestimated the volume, the interest in the site. >> but you noted the volume isn't the same as the applicants and the enrollment. you yourself visited the site. clearly, you weren't shopping for it. others did as well. so to chairman camp's point, the number of applicants, the number of enrollees apparently still not known is pretty modest, wouldn't you agree? >> well, but i would tell you that the number of visitors to the site and the number of people interested in completing applications was larger than even our initial projections. and we worked our projections off of the seven million number that a chairman camp mentioned. we also worked it off our history with medicare part d. so we've added capacity to the system, and we've improved system performance. that's the first thing. the second thing is we have found some what i will call functional glitches as we call them in the public term in the actual application itself which
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we're repairing. and that is the gradual improvement that is you will see over the next four weeks, and that's why i'm confident about the end of november. >> well, can i tell you, my constituents are frightened. like millions of americans, they are now being forced out of the health care plan that they like. the clock is ticking on a web site that's broken. their health care isn't a glitch, it's what they depend upon. so, you know, you've been described as the quarterback of the obamacareout. i'm sure that's not the term you cared for yourself. but can you guarantee no american will experience a gap in their health care? >> what i can guarantee is we have a system that's working. we're going to improve the speed of that system -- >> excuse me. >> yes? >> you're saying the system right now is working? >> i'm saying it's working, it's just not working at the speed that we want and at the success rate that a we want. and those are the things that we're working on. we also have alternative methods
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for folks. they can use the call centers, they can use paper applications, then we have in-person assistance available in each state. so i can guarantee you that we can reach out to each individual and help them select a plan and enroll. so, yes, sir. >> but to my point, this is not supposed to be fixed until november 1st. people have just two weeks to apply, enroll, be confirmed. so what happens on january 1st when they have an illness, they need patient care then, they've not heard back from the government? what do they do then? >> they actually, they have until march 31st to enroll. >> no, but their plan has been canceled, as millions of americans have found out -- >> you're talking about people who -- >> so and, again, i'm not trying -- i'm just trying, what my constituents want to know, what happens? >> the individuals who have received notices from their issuers is a different situation.
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they can certainly, obviously, sign up, transfer as we've talked about earlier with blue cross of florida, or they can go on the exchange or call the call center -- >> no, but my point is it's been canceled, they don't have health care, they've tried to get on the web site unsuccessfully, they don't know if they're enrolled. it's january 1st, they're facing a gap in coverage. what -- >> and i'm telling you they can call the call center today, and we will help them. they can go online, and if they're not successful, web help them through the call center. we also have people in their individual markets that can help them in person. so there are more methods than just the web site, and i think that's important. >> where i think what's become clear as well is obamacare's not ready. question is, why don't we make it voluntary? why don't we give americans a choice so they're not forced into this health care that they don't want? chairman, yield back. >> mr. mcdermott's recognized. >> thank you, mr. chairman.
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mr. rangel's asked me to correct something. the vote coming out of this committee was on a party line vote. there were no republicans who voted for it when it left this committee. when social security -- >> will the gentleman yield? >> or there were 81 who finally voted for it, mostly progressives, but there's none left -- >> yes, 84% of republicans voted for the social security act, i'm glad we're debating current events here. >> reclaiming my time, mr. chairman -- [laughter] with the way my republican colleagues have been fretting over the success of the affordable care act exchanges, you'd never know they spent $24 billion shutting down the country to get be rid of it. martha: all right, we're going to keep an eye on this, and we want to bring in bob beckel because we want to get his reaction to what's going on here, and he joins me now, former democratic campaign manager and co-host of "the five." good to have you with us. obviously, a big story this morning, that millions of people who have a plan will not be able
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to keep it. the president had assured them that they would. now we're looking at millions of people who will not be that situation. what do you make of that and this hearing that we're watching play out here? >> well, straight political theater. i'm glad i had a chance to stays partisan as i expected it to be. let's go back here, look, should obama have said this flatly, you can keep your insurance? no. it was politics. it was a campaign. nobody really knew. but the point is that when these guys say millions -- that's not true at all -- they said their constituents want their health care, they like their health care, that's not true. they're getting lousy health care insurance in most parts, and the reason that they're getting cut back by the insurance companies is the insurance companies don't want to give the minimum health care provider should because they don't want to pay for it. martha: but, bob, a principle at work here, okay? anecdotally we've got plenty of people sending tweets, they're not happy. they're getting cancellation letters in the mail, okay? and some of them are saying,
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look, my policy might not offer what aca tells me that i'm supposed to have, but it's my policy, and it's my decision about what i want. i don't want to be forced by the government to be paying for another program that i did not ask for. that's the principle that is bothering a lot of people. >> well, it's a principle that -- you ought to ask that question to the health insurance industry. they were grandfathered in. they could have kept their -- what they've done now, the health care insurance has decided they've got a big, profitable market out there. they dump these people off their plans, and now they have to shop for more expensive plans. why doesn't the health insurance companies just offer the minimum? martha: bob, "the wall street journal" did an extensive series -- >> i saw it. martha: -- on how integral the health insurance companies were, believe me, they're going to come out fine, as you know. you've got all different categories of folks, individual people who have their own plan who say, look, i've got my plan. some of them might love to be on
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this plan, but some of them aren't. and the fact is they're not going to have a choice, and the president promised them they would. how damaging is that? ed henry talked about pulling the thread on the suit and the white house is afraid if that thread gets pulled on, this whole thing could unravel. >> with well, is it damaging? of course. you can't have this kind of negative publicity going on and on and on day after day and not have some damage done. politically for democrats in 2014, they would prefer not to deal with this. if it were up to me, i'd suggest a year delay on this thing to get it right, but leaving that aside, yes, politically it's a dangerous thing too to have. but when you talk about the number of people, we have 311 million people in this country, maximum 15 million will not get the same insurance they have now of which a majority of it is lousy. martha: you know, i mean, you're trying to cover the uninsured, and you've got people who are being pushed out of their program. it feels like what was supposed to be a fix for the small number of people who don't have
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coverage has ended up impacting everybody down the food chain, and that's what's got people scared. we're looking at economic numbers this morning that are very surprising, and there are ripple effects to this, bob. and it's going to be a big, big deal all the a way through 2014, and you and i know it. >> well, i'm not so sure. do i think it's going to be a big political deal? i think the republicans will run it to the bank as much as they can, and i don't blame them. that's part of politics. but the idea that somehow this is down the food chain, there are 30 million people without insurance policy, and you're talking about 15 million or less who are going to have their plans changed mostly for the better. so, i mean, i don't understand the numbers. when people talk about this being a massive political impact, it ain't going to happen that way. it's not that many people. martha: you know what, bob? let's revisit it. we're glad to have you on it, i know you guys are talking about it on "the five," we'll be tuning in. bill: the charts are up on the screen, they've been listening to the head of the agency in charge of launching the web site. we've got to take a commercial
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break, live hearing continues. how will the administration dig itself out of --
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bill: so paul ryan going at it right now back and forth. we'll get back in the hearing in a moment. see you a bit later this afternoon. martha: "happening now" starts right now. jenna: let's take you to the committee hearing. house ways and means committee talking to the administrator of medicare & medicaid services. let's take a listen what paul ryan has to say. >> are we really verifying at the front end whether a person is he will babble for these subsidies or not? here is why it is matter. if they're not he will babble for the subsidy, once we reconcile the records, they get tacked money back off the refund. this is what i mean by rude awakenings. people are signing found for insurance, getting tax credit subsidies funded by taxpayers. irs already telling us they're confused about how to do this you're not telling us whether or not you're proactively determining whether say under